January 17

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38 BC – Octavian divorces his wife Scribonia and marries Livia Drusilla, ending the fragile peace between the Second Triumvirate and Sextus Pompey. 395 – Upon the death of Emperor Theodosius I, the Roman Empire is permanently divided into the Eastern Roman Empire under Arcadius, and the Western Roman Empire under Honorius. 1524 – Giovanni […]

January 13

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532 – Nika riots continue in Constantinople. 1435 – Sicut Dudum, forbidding the enslavement of the Guanche natives in Canary Islands by the Spanish, is promulgated by Pope Eugene IV. 1793 – Nicolas Jean Hugon de Bassville, representative of Revolutionary France, lynched by a mob in Rome 1840 – The steamship Lexington burns and sinks […]

January 12

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1808 – John Rennie’s scheme to defend St Mary’s Church, Reculver, founded in 669, from coastal erosion was abandoned in favour of demolition, despite the church being an exemplar of Anglo-Saxon architecture and sculpture. 1908 – A long-distance radio message is sent from the Eiffel Tower for the first time. 1915 – The United States […]

January 11

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532 – Nika riots in Constantinople: A quarrel between supporters of different chariot teams-the Blues and the Greens-in the Hippodrome escalates into violence. 1569 – First recorded lottery in England. 1571 – Austrian nobility is granted freedom of religion. 1759 – In Philadelphia, the first American life insurance company is incorporated. 1861
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January 10

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49 BC – Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon, signalling the start of civil war. 1645 – Archbishop William Laud is beheaded at the Tower of London. 1776 – Thomas Paine publishes his pamphlet Common Sense. 1863 – The London Underground, the world’s oldest underground railway, opens between London Paddington station and Farringdon station. 1870
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January 9

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475 – Byzantine Emperor Zeno is forced to flee his capital at Constantinople, and his general, Basiliscus gains control of the empire. 1788 – Connecticut becomes the fifth state to be admitted to the United States. 1793 – Jean-Pierre Blanchard becomes the first person to fly in a balloon in the United States. 1839 – […]

January 6

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1066 – Harold Godwinson (or Harold II) is crowned King of England. 1540 – King Henry VIII of England marries Anne of Cleves. 1838 – Alfred Vail demonstrates a telegraph system using dots and dashes (this is the forerunner of Morse code). 1839 – The most damaging storm in 300 years sweeps across Ireland, damaging […]

January 5

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1066 – Edward the Confessor dies childless, sparking a succession crisis that will eventually lead to the Norman conquest of England. 1527 – Felix Manz, a leader of the Anabaptist congregation in Zürich, Switzerland, is executed by drowning. 1757 – Louis XV of France survives an assassination attempt by Robert-François Damiens, the last person to […]

January 4

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46 BC – Julius Caesar defeats Titus Labienus in the Battle of Ruspina. 871 – Battle of Reading: Æthelred of Wessex fights, and is defeated by, a Danish invasion army. 1490 – Anne of Brittany announces that all those who would ally with the King of France will be considered guilty of lèse-majesté, the crime […]

January 3

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1521 – Pope Leo X excommunicates Martin Luther in the papal bull Decet Romanum Pontificem. Three months later, Luther was called to defend his beliefs before Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms, where he was famously defiant. For his refusal to recant his writings, the emperor declared him an outlaw and […]